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22 April – 19May 2014
Newcameras from Nikon&Olympus, plus competitions, courses &winners
All the top stories you want to know revealed
The Sony A7 series appeals to photographers who demand full-frame image quality without the bulk of a traditional DSLR. The latest in the series, the A7 s offers resolution of 12.2 megapixels so much lower than the A7 at 24 megapixels and the A7R at 36 megapixels. The benefits of cramming fewer, but larger pixels into a smaller area are superior noise performance, colour fidelity and better dynamic range. Its native ISO range is 100-102,400 and this can be expanded to 50-409,600. The A7 s is also the world’s first full-frame camera that can shoot 4K video with full pixel read-out via an HDMI interface and an external storage device. The Sony A7 s will be available later this summer. Its price has not been confirmed yet. interchangeable lens, full-frame compact system camera with a top ISO of 409,600
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: then & now Animalmagic – 50years ofwildlife photography • NikonD4 s • Olympus E-M10 • Travel ’pods &bags
π To find out more about the Sony A7 s , go to www.sony.co.uk.
With the amateur winners of the Sony World Photo competition announced, we talk to World Photo Organisation MD, Scott Gray, page 16.
Turn to page 23 for kit reviews you can trust
Issue 7 | Photography News
Photography News | Issue 7
Latest photography news Photo 24 encore! Join us for a unique photo experience in London
NEWS INBRIEF STOPPRESS! As this issue was going to press, news broke of the Pentax 645Z, a 51-megapixel medium- format DSLR that is due to sell for £7700 with a 55mm standard lens. Full story next issue. ricoh-imagIng.co.uk ANABSOLUTE BARGAIN If you’ve not already discovered the joys of gear reviews in video and pros talking about their kit, as well as totally interactive lighting masterclasses and Lightroom tutorials courtesy of iPad only mag, Absolute Photo , now is the time. Treat yourself to the first issue for the princely sum of 69p. Yes, that’s right, issue 1 of Absolute Photo is currently just 69p. It’s bursting with delights, such as the fine art of low-light landscapes and the 12 most influential cameras of all time. So head over to the iTunes store, pay your 69p and download the issue – plus get free previews of other issues!
shoot on the Friday evening, adjourn to a hotel for a sleep and then carry on in the morning; or to shoot all night long – the choice is yours. You can come along and ‘buddy up’ on the night or group together with some club members for company.
PN ’s sister magazine, Advanced Photographer is hosting Photo 24 again. This year the plan is to kick off at 6pm on Friday 20 June at a meeting point in central London. This is an informal event and you are welcome to come along for a couple of hours; or
π Please register your interest on http://bit.ly/1i8L7ot and we’ll keep you up to date with plans.
Samsung’s tough cards
Faster, more rugged storage cards
performance and offer read speeds of 90MB/s and 48MB/s respectively. The new cards also offer reliable performance in challenging conditions and they are said to be waterproof, as well as resistant to magnets and X-rays. All models are guaranteed to survive 24 hours in seawater and work in temperatures from -13°F to +185°F. . π To find out more about the new cards, go to www.samsung.com/uk.
Look out in the shops for Samsung’s new advanced range of SD and microSD cards. The PRO, EVO and Standard cards will be available from 4GB to 64GB sizes, identifiable by attractive colour finishes – silver for PRO, orange for EVO and blue for Standard. The PRO and EVO ranges support UHS-1 Grade 1 ADOBE LIGHTROOM FOR IPAD LightroomMobile offers the ability to work on your images even when your iPad is offline. Mobile is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photoshop Photography Program and for £8.78 per month you have access to Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC on your desktop and the mobile app on iPad. Right now, Mobile is for CC subscribers only, so not great news for everyone. www.adobe.com
Issue 7 | Photography News
Latest photography news
NEWS INBRIEF C’MONENGLAND Two special edition PNY flash drives have been launched to celebrate the World Cup. Red and white for England and green and yellow for Brazil, these 16GB drives cost £9.99 each. www.pny.com OVERTHEMOON Two Hasselblad Lunar cameras worth $14,000 in total reached $54,500 at a charity auction in Florida in aid of spina bifida, as two (presumably wealthy) photo enthusiasts bid against each other. The Braun Master Action camera is perfect for extreme sports fans. It can capture videos and 16-megapixel still images with a 10x digital zoom and be used down to 100m underwater. It sells for £250. www.kenro.co.uk OFFERS Until 2 June 2014, get a deal on the GH4, GH3 or GX7. Buy a GH4 and you can claim a free battery grip and battery worth £300, or buy a GH3 and claim a free battery grip, battery and a Leica Summilux DG 25mm f/1.4 lens – that little lot is worth £800. Buy the GX7 with its 20mm kit lens and you can redeem a 12-32mm zoomworth £300 or if you buy the GX7 with the 14-42mm kit lens, claim a free 20mm lens. www.panasonic.co.uk HANG ITUP Users of Lastolite fold- up backgrounds (or any brand with a metal rim) will be interested in this gadget, the Magnetic Background Support. It attaches to any standard lighting stand and holds the fold-up background in place, perfect for the location shoots. On its own it sells for £60 and is available as a kit complete with a lighting stand for £1078. www.lastolite.com as the NXMini, the Galaxy Camera 2 or theWB350F, or a lens. Find full terms and conditions on the website. www.samsung.com/uk SAMSUNGTRADE-IN Until 31 August 2014, trade in your old digital camera (it still has towork!) for a new Samsung camera, such PANASONIC ACTIONBRAUN
Nikon’s latest Nikon’s 1 Series of CSCs has gained a new member. And if you want a tiny CSC, the Nikon 1 V3 could well be the camera for you.
The V3 may be really compact, but it offers high- speed performance. Its sensor has a resolution of 18.4 megapixels and it works with the new EXPEED 4A image processor to give high image quality and the ISO range is 160 to 12,800. The V3 with the 10- 30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom costs £800 and £1050 for the same kit plus an EVF and grip.
An AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens was also announced – 35mm format equivalent is 27-450mm. This compact lens costs £630 and will in the shops later this April.
π To find out more, go to www.nikon.co.uk.
Lee Filters’ Big Stopper has been a huge success and it continues to sell well. The thing with the Big Stopper is that you don’t always need to lose ten stops of light, especially when the light levels are lower, so the Little Stopper only absorbs six stops. As with the Big Stopper, the Little Stopper is not truly neutral so either needs correction in post, or the white-balance adjusted in camera. The Little Stopper costs £100.80 for the 100mm system and £68 for the Seven5 75x90mm system. Speaking of the Seven5 system, designed with CSCs in mind, Lee has just added some new kits. The Deluxe Kit costs £468 and comes with a filter holder, circular polariser, 0.6ND grad soft, 0.6ND grad hard, 0.9 ND grad hard and a Big Stopper. All you need to add is an adaptor ring. The other kits comprise just the filters and are tailored to specific subject areas so there is the Out of Town ND Filter Set, the Seascape ND Filter Set and the Urban ND Filter Set. Each set costs £168. . π To find out more, go to www.leefilters.com. SON OF BIG STOPPER ANDMORE FROM LEE
The 16-megapixel Olympus SH-1 is a beautifully designed compact and is on sale for £350. But it offers much more than great looks. It’s the world’s only compact with five-axis optical image stabilisation, has a 24x integral zoom giving a 35mm focal length equivalent of 24 to 600mm and has a top ISO of 6400. It’s available from the end of April. Due out in June is the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-3, also set to sell for £350. It’s aimed at the
adventurous photographer who is likely to face arduous conditions and the camera is waterproof, shockproof, crush proof and freeze proof. The 4x optical zoomgives a focal length equivalent of 25mm to 100mm and features an Advanced Super Macro function that offers Microscope, Microscope Control, Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing modes.
π To find out more, go to www.olympus.co.uk.
A 12mm f/2 manual focus lens has been introduced by Samyang for mirrorless APS-C formats. With 12 elements, three of which are made from extra low dispersion glass, in 10 groups and nanocrystal anti- reflective coating to optimise resolution, this lens could be a real cracker and perfect for fans of wide- angle shooting. Mounts available are Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E and Micro Four Thirds. It should be in store by the beginning of May, priced at £350. Wide Samyang
π To find out more, go to www.samyang.co.uk.
Photography News | Issue 7
Latest photography news
The Nissin 140 is a compact flashgun that also incorporates a video light. The unit weighs in at just 230g, takes four AA cells and costs £204. It has a zoom head covering lenses from 24mm to 105mm with an integral diffuser giving 16mm lens coverage, while the LED video light has nine output levels. It also offers high-speed sync, wireless TTL and has a tilt/swing head. It is available for Canon and Nikon to start, with models for Sony Micro Four Thirds and Fujifilm to come. Nissin flash& video light
MARUMI UV FILTER
The Nest Explorer range has grown with two lightweight top loading bags, the EX5 and EX10 costing £30 and £35 respectively, and two compact shoulder bags designed for CSCs and DSLRs, the EX25 and EX50, priced at £40 and £45. There is a range of Nest of bags The new series of Marumi Exus UV filters will stop excessive blueness spoiling your images and is perfect for protecting the front of your lens. The anti-foul coating helps resist finger marks and dust as well as
making cleaning easier. Sizes from 49mm to 82mm are available with prices between £58.32 and £138.
π To find out more, go to www. kenro.co.uk.
π To find out more, go to www.kenro.co.uk.
NEWS INBRIEF FAST SCANNER Reflecta has introduced a high-speed 35mm film scanner. The x8-Scan costs £59 and has an optical resolution of 1800ppi. Each 35mm WINNERS Manfrotto products have won six Red Dot Product Awards. The Red Dot Design competition has been going for 60 years and its awards are internationally recognised. Among Manfrotto’s winners are the 190 aluminium tripod, the Befree travel tripod and the new X-PRO three-way head. www.manfrotto.co.uk frame takes two seconds to scan. www.kenro.co.uk MANFROTTO
colours available, black, blue, green and orange. Order any Nest bag from the website before 30 April and save 30%. . π To find out more, go to www.nest- style.com.
Go Camowith Benro Benro’s latest photo rucksacks have a camouflage finish so they’re the perfect companion for the bird and wildlife photographer. Two sizes are on offer, the Falcon 400 and Falcon 800, costing £169 and £180 respectively. The roomy 400 will happily take a DSLR fitted with a 400mm lens, and both bags are made from water-repellent materials.
π To find out more, go to www.kenro.co.uk.
Issue 7 | Photography News
Latest photography news
Sean Batten has been named Britain’s best amateur photographer in the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. Sean’s portfolio featuring the London Underground was featured in Advanced Photographer (September 2012). An exhibition of the Award winners takes place at London’s Somerset House, 1-18 May. As well as the winners and shortlisted entries from 139,000 entries, there is a collection of work from US photo journalist Mary Ellen Mark and some images from Sony ambassador William Klein’s latest commission. Tickets costs £7.50 (£5 concessions) and can be booked at www.worldphoto.org/2014exhibition. π To find out more, go to www.worldphoto.org. Or turn to page 16 for an interview with the MD of Sony World Photo Awards. Sonywinners ABOVE The image that scooped Sean Batten a big prize in this year’s Sony Photo Awards.
NEWS INBRIEF OLYMPUS FIRMWARE UPGRADE Firmware version v1.3 is available for the Olympus OM-D E-M1. For upgrade details visit http://bit.ly/1dUqkjU BOBBOOKSAPP The Bob Books app for iPad and iPhone is available from the UK App store. It enables users to make coffee- table quality books straight from their iPad/ iPhone. The app is free and photo books start from £16.99. www.bobbooks.co.uk
Win £500 of photo kit Contact lens retailer GetLenses.co.uk is running a photo contest throughout 2014. Every three months, the winning image gets a £500 voucher for photography equipment to be spent at Amazon UK. The sponsors want to see images of any subject or object that reminds the viewer of an eye and the more imaginative the better. So, get your imagination going because the next closing date is 16 May.
π To find out more about the competition, go to www.getlenses.co.uk/eye-competition.
Top American photographer Frank Doorhof is touring the UK offering four intensive one-day workshops this June. With each course limited to 12, book your place very soon if you don’t want to miss out – one has already sold out! Go learn with TFC
Adventure holiday expert Exodus has launched UK landscape and wildlife workshops led by professional photographer Dave Stephenson. Courses cost £150 per Outdoor UK courses
person and take place in Essex, Kent and Sussex.
π To find out more, go to www. theflashcentre.com.
π To find out more, go to www.exodus.co.uk/photographyworkshops.
Photography News | Issue 7
Gitzo’s Mountaineer tripod range has been redesigned – and it’s eXactly what you need
Stability, usability and versatility. Those are the qualities you want in a tripod, so you know not only that you’ll get sharp images in any situation, but also that you can set up the shot quickly and comfortably while positioning your camera precisely from any height to achieve your creative vision. And those are the qualities that Gitzo has focused on in developing its latest all-purpose carbon fibre Mountaineer tripods. The Mountaineer is Gitzo’s original model, and was the first tripod to use carbon fibre legs. Twenty years after its first appearance, it’s no surprise that the Mountaineer is still leading the way, and the updated range includes the latest technology to meet the needs of the most exacting photographers. The evolution starts with what made the Mountaineer stand out from the crowd in the first place – the carbon fibre. The new range improves on the previous Carbon 6X models with the introduction of Carbon eXact. This optimises the composition of the material for each tube size, with high modulus carbon fibre reinforcing the narrower tubes – this makes the legs stiffer
without needing to use more material, so there’s no disadvantage when it comes to weight. The tube dimensions have been optimised for stability too, and the lower leg sections have larger diameters. The result is a tripod that’s stiffer and stronger than ever, but still extremely portable. Gitzo has also redesigned its signature G-lock leg lock system for the new Mountaineer tripods, which feature G-lock Ultra. This offers smoother, softer operation for greater comfort, while also maximising tripod performance and reliability. The mechanism is fine-tuned to match the smaller differences in tube diameter between Carbon eXact leg sections, contributing to extra stiffness of the legs, and the design reduces the chance of debris entering the tubes and locking mechanism so you know they won’t seize up at the vital moment. Getting your camera close to the ground has never been easier or quicker than with the new Mountaineer range either. With the new Ground Level Set system, simply unscrewing the ring below the centre column’s upper disc frees the column so it can be removed without having
IMAGES With new carbon fibre legs and improved locks, the Mountaineer looks set for another 20 years at least.
The evolution startswithwhat made theMountaineer stand out fromthe crowd in the first place – carbon fibre to disassemble anything else, leaving the upper disc and head firmly in place. Once the column’s removed, you can sit the tripod with the legs in their horizontal position so the camera can get as low as 14cm from the ground. New leg angle selectors that are easier to get hold of and disengage make for comfortable adjustments to the leg angles too. The newMountaineer tripod range includes ten different leg sets, with prices starting at £479.95. Three- and four-section models are available in sizes that range from the smallest Series 0 models, which weigh as little as 1.07kg and fold to just 53cm, up to the biggest Series 3 tripods with a maximum height of 178cm and top payload of 21kg. No matter what kit you have or how you want to use it, there’s a Mountaineer for you.
π To find out more, go to www.gitzo.co.uk.
Issue 7 | Photography News
Tell us your club’s latest news, email: email@example.com
Dustondoes it again! In the recent GB Cup 2014 PAGB Small Clubs Competition, 63 clubs entered and Duston Camera Club came out on top for the second time; they also came first in 2012, out of more than 80 clubs. They started entering the Cup to support the PAGB in 2011 when they came third. “We have 43 members and keep going all through the year,” says chairman Graham Worley LRPS. “We have great respect from visiting speakers and we are always being told what a friendly club we are.”
Halifax Photographic Society’s first meeting was on 5 May 1914, and to commemorate its centenary this year, the society is holding an exhibition of prints old and new from 26 April until 7 June at the town’s Bankfield Museum. And 3-31 May, they’re hosting the Yorkshire Photographic Union Annual Exhibition and Assembly, with the prints and projected images displayed at Bankfield Museum. Leo Rich ARPS, president of the PAGB, will officially open the Assembly at Square Chapel for the Arts, Halifax on 3 May. On the evening of 3 May at Square Chapel there’s also a prestige lecture by David Ward, one of Britain’s most accomplished photographers, known not only for his beautiful photographs but also his philosophical thinking and writing. Tickets for this lecture cost £10 and are available from Philip Haigh on 01924 522542 or via the society’s website.
π To find out more about the society and its centenary activities, go to www.halifaxphotographicsociety.co.uk.
π To find out more, go to www. dustoncamera.org.uk.
On 2 May, David Noton in Preston at the Greenbank Lecture Theatre, University of Central Lancashire giving his Chasing the Light talk. Tickets cost £10 each. Contact Dave Cope for tickets, firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.prestonphotographicsociety.org. On 27 May, he’s at the Nottingham & Notts Photographic Society, at the Richard Herrod Centre, Nottingham NG4 1RL. The evening starts at 7.30pm. Two chances to see pro landscape photographer, David Noton this May Notonon tour North Cheshire Photographic Society (NCPS) is an expanding club, attracting new members through a varied syllabus. And the club is no stranger to awards either. In fact, this year, NCPS will be one of the clubs representing the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union at the PAGB National PDI and Print competitions. We also enjoyed top 10 placings in both the recent PAGB GB Cup and the PAGB Nature Cup. The club hosts a three-day annual exhibition displaying over 300 prints and PDIs. The exhibition includes the North Cheshire Challenges, which sees over 20 clubs from the North West compete against each other. New clubs are always welcome. Not content with winning awards, NCPS is also keen to expand, try new things and attract new members
NEWS INBRIEF IF YOU’RE QUICK Nature pro David Goldstein is speaking at Bracknell Camera Club, Thursday 24 April, 7.30pm. The venue is Garth Hill College, Bull Lane, Bracknell and tickets costs £9 each. www.bracknell-camera- club.co.uk AN EVENINGWITH CHRISWESTON Renowned wildlife pro Chris Weston has a presentation at the Earl Shilton Camera Club, Wednesday 21 May. The venue is the Earl Shilton Constitutional Club, Earl Shilton LE9 7GT. The show starts at 7.30pm and doors open at 7pm. Tickets costs £8 for adults, £5 for under 18s. For enquiries, contact John Smith on johnrsmith987@ btinternet.com or visit the website. www.earlshilton cameraclub.org.uk ENTERNOW You have until 2 May to enter the Robin Hood Open Digital Exhibition. There are six categories to choose from: Natural Colour, PhotoRealistic Colour, Creative (Colour and b&w), Nature, Monochrome and Landscape. Prizes include elegant engraved glassware as well as BPE ribbons and PAGB gold medals. The Exhibition is run under the auspices of BPE and has PAGB Patronage.
Tickets are £13 from email@example.com, or go to www.nnps.org.
The Western Counties Photographic Federation (WCPF) held their annual Inter-Club Digitally Projected Image Competition in February. This hotly contested competition sends two top winners to compete in the main PAGB Inter-Federation Competition. A total of 1100 images, from55 clubs, were entered and judged in salon style by Paul Keene, FRPS MPAGB EFIAP/p, Brian Swinyard, MA ARPS EFIAP/b DPAGB BPE3* PPSA and Maureen Toft, EFIAP/p MPAGB MPSA ABPE. After three hours of judging in front of an enthusiastic audience, Dorchester Camera Club emerged victorious by a narrow margin of two points over Bristol Photographic Society, with the Zen Photo Group taking third place. In the individual competition, Janet Haines from Dorchester won the overall prize with her image, The Sirens (above); with the silver medal going to Robin Gregory from Calne Camera Club with an image entitled Eve; third place was awarded to another member of Dorchester Camera Club, Penny Piddock for her underwater image Squid showing chromatophores. Club and individual winners celebrate success at WCPF COMPETITIONWINNERS
NorthCheshire Photo Society CLUB SPOTLIGHT Each month we focus on a camera club. If you want your club featured, write 200 words about your club and why it’s going places, then send the word document and up to five JPEG images frommembers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We offer members mentoring to help and encourage them to further develop and enjoy their photography, all in a relaxed and social atmosphere. We meet in Poynton every Tuesday evening from September through to May and guests are always made welcome. The club continues to expand its activities, such as developing a new programme of monthly trips. Our syllabus includes some keenly fought externally judged competitions, and our website features galleries, a blog and a Twitter feed keeps members up to date.
π To find out more, go to www.wcpf.org.uk.
We welcome any aspect of club news. It could be a member’s individual success or it might be a great club shoot, maybe the club won a regional contest, has a special anniversary or exhibition coming up, or a big speaker due and you simply want to sell more tickets.
Whatever it is, if you want any items considered for Club News email them to email@example.com before the deadline, 5 May.
Deadline for the next issue is 9 May, out Monday 19 May.
NEXT ISSUE Issue 8 of PN is out on Monday 19 May.
If your club or society publishes a newsletter, please add us to the mailing list using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
π To find out more about the North Cheshire Challenges, go to www.north cheshirechallenges.info. To find out more about NCPS, go to www.ncps.org.uk.
Photography News | Issue 7
Advertisement feature Awinner on paper EPSON PRINTERS In the final stages of a photographic competition, the standard can be so high that often standing between an entrant and a goldmedal is just the quality of the print
There aremany different types of photographer that makeupanygivencameraclub. You’ll haveeveryone from the amateur photographers fresh from buying their first compact system camera, to the naturally talented enthusiasts to the professionals who make their living out of photography. All have one thing in common though: apassion for photography. Gordon Jenkins’ dedication to photography goes above and beyond the average, having been involved with his local club, Chorley Photographic Society, for an astonishing 38 years. He’s been president, treasurer, member and is now about to take on the role of vice president. If there’s one person who knows about clubs, it’s Gordon. “Established in 1896, Chorley is a normal camera club of 92 members. We weren’t formed just for competitions but we do like to enter them throughout the year,” says Gordon. Chorley members particularly relish putting their skills to the test in print competitions. “Some of the top workers in our club feel that when they enter digital competitions, they cannever be certainof thequality of the projection that the competition organisers will afford their image,” he adds. By submitting prints,
Print quality isn’t important, it’s very important
competitors are able to take complete control over what the finished piece looks like, ensuring it aligns with their vision. “Although the projection is good, with a print you know exactly what the judges are going to be looking at,” explains Gordon. “They’re going to be looking at something you want them to look at, not a projected interpretation.” The majority of members at Chorley Photographic Society rely on Epson printers to produce their competition images because it’s a brand they’ve come to trust to deliver the results they require. “Epson printers are reliable and the quality is second to none. Epson is constantly improving its technology and inks and people are managing to achieve fine detail with their prints,” says Gordon. Fine detailing is crucial when competitors reach
the final stages of a competition. The quality of a print could go as far as to make or break the image for the judges. “The judges initially look at the images for impact, but when they get down to the final awards, they look closely at the print quality,” he says. “The judges actually look to see if there is detail in the highlights and whether the shadow areas are blocked as well as looking at the tonal range. Print quality isn’t important, it’s very important.” Epson’s Stylus Photo R2880 is a favourite among Chorley Photographic Society members and it’s also Gordon’s model of choice. It’s ideal for printing large- format photos up to A3+ size, but not only that, it can also produce prints that for some are a qualitative equivalent to darkroom prints. “It can be difficult for the monochrome worker to actually get a print that would simulate a very good darkroom print, but that has been made entirely possible with Epson printers,” says Gordon. “If two prints were made, one in the darkroom and one using a top-quality Epson printer, I defy you to be able to tell the difference – without getting the glass on it and seeing the structure of the image itself.” Chorley PS has been able to enjoy relative success at competitions throughout the UK, thanks in part to the quality of the prints submitted. They have also started branching out into digital international competitions achieving results that they were “quite chuffed at”. But print competitions will always be the pinnacle of their competition ventures. “Print competitions to a lot of the top photographers are really the endgame, that’s where they really like to win,” concludes Gordon.
BELOWStalwart club member, Gordon Jenkins relies on an Epson Stylus Photo R2880 to print his outstanding images for competitions.
To find out more about the entire Epson range of inkjet printers, go to www.epson.co.uk.
Issue 7 | Photography News
Give us your feedback, email: email@example.com
Speakers’ corner in issue 6 drew a huge response. To recap, judge ColinWalls CPAGB suggested that judging club competitions should not be done ‘live’, but considered beforehand. Well, here’s what you think… What you think about… judging
Des Ward is media manager at Cheltenham Camera Club, and he read the Speakers’ corner article by Colin Walls CPAGB with interest as Colin had judged at the club in 2012. As part of his post, Des writes a members’ only blog, so he can say what he really thinks about visiting speakers without worrying. Here’s his blog entry commenting on Colin’s judging, followed by subsequent comments from Cheltenham CC’s members:
subject. I thought he was effective in telling us where the eyes go when looking at various pictures – and whether that contributed to the image working or not. “He also made a number of very good points which I took note of: • The eye is automatically drawn to text, and if it is incomplete, you tend to spend more time on it, trying to work out what it really says – if the text is not the main point of the image then this essentially distracts from the subject. • Simplicity is the art of taking away everything to leave only what’s essential. I also particularly liked the way that the images which didn’t quite make it to the award giving stage got an honourable mention to let you know how close they were. “Finally, you could argue that his style of reading notes from an iPad led to a less dynamic presentation than usual – and there are certainly judges who are more entertaining; but to be honest I think the level of detail we got from his full consideration of the images far outweighed that. “In summary, another excellent judging; the time and care that Colin put in to prepare were self-evident and certainly paid off. Thanks Colin.” of each picture given by Colin, so much better than the umming and so on that often accompanies the assessment. The keeping to time was largely due to this delivery and was welcome. Sometimes I find the delivery we get from judges so laborious. I think we should invite this one back for sure.” TP I agree entirely that the time he devoted to judging beforehand was beneficial. I think more judges should be encouraged to do this. It made for a much better, yet concise summary of each image’s good and poorer points.” IG I liked the crisp summary
“A rather unusual, perhaps even unorthodox judge. Unusual in that we got his history upfront to let us know where he was coming from (and I don’t just mean the Beacon Club, Malvern) but also his slant on assessment in preference to judgment and his love of seeing other people’s photographs. Also I believe unique in recent years in that he examined the prints for 1.5 days before Thursday evening. His presentation was undoubtedly unorthodox – reading his notes from an iPad. And finally he doesn’t accept expenses – he requests a donation to his nominated charity, SightSavers. “So how did he do? Well I could be accused of bias as he gave a first place to my image, Divergence (although I got no change whatsoever with my mono images), but I thought his very careful assessment of the prints was excellent. I think we got a much better, more considered, more in-depth, more insightful and more concise assessment of the prints than we ever get when a judge is seeing them for the first time on the night. “Colin gave us his ideas on how some of the images could be improved, mentioning a better crop quite a few times, and even an anti-crop – where there wasn’t enough space around the Judging at home and delivering your carefully considered assessment was normal when I first joined a club. Sadly around 1990 judges started insisting that they would only judge live. The reality is that live judging is more difficult and some are better than others. However, the advantages of home judging were well displayed by Colin and quite a contrast. Well done Colin!” DH Good judging, great preparation and he kept on time!” DP Comments
“I feel that I must respond on behalf of the many dedicated camera club judges, who undertake their judging assignments on a ‘cold’ judging basis. Colin Walls felt compelled to label ‘cold’ judges as pontificating and lazy. How disappointing that a fellow judge and photography enthusiast should feel so arrogant and superior. “I have personally been judging at club and federation level for five years. During that time I have worked hard on improving my knowledge and understanding of photography by visiting exhibitions, studying photographers and photographs and viewing as many club photographers’ images as possible. This knowledge has enabled me to deliver informed photographic critique at club competition evenings, even if I only have a limited time to preview all images entered on the night. “I certainly do not feel that the criticism “lazy” and “pontificating” has any substance and does Colin no credit at all. I might question if his “five or six” judging assignments a year in any way keeps him up to date with current club photography in all of its varying guises, but I would never presume to criticise something about which I am not fully informed. “In my experience camera club judges do their best, in their own time, to provide a valuable service to clubs and their members. Some are better than others, but that is a reflection on all aspects of life. “It is disappointing that a fellow judge feels the need to criticise his colleagues when it would be much more productive if we worked together in developing our many skills to the benefit of camera clubs and their members. At the end of the day camera club judging is something that we all do through our enthusiasm and love of photography. Ill-informed criticism will only serve to stifle that enthusiasm to the detriment of all.” Anthony Oliver LRPS, CPAGB “I have been a judge for 30 years and have used both methods in club competitions. If I have over 90 images I prefer to have them in advance. If however the numbers are lower, more often than not the clubs don’t get the entries until the night of the competition. “I feel that with experience it is quite possible to make an informed judgment in the time available on the night. What I would normally do is mark the average and below and keep the higher scoring images until the end and then select a winner when the top images are together. “Bearing in mind that most club evenings last at the most two hours and an interval of 20 minutes is taken out of that, this leaves 100 minutes to judge maybe up to 120 images which does not leave much time for long informed comment. “And at the end of the night, it’s only ever the competition winner who really likes the judge.” David Hollows CPAGB
“I am not a judge but have years of experience listening to them. One memorable example of the pre-competition viewing method I had was listening to an experienced federation judge pontificating on how he would have taken the images rather than giving advice on how to improve them. “Good judges, if they are worth their salt, can sum up an image quickly, get straight to the point and still give helpful and constructive comments. Spontaneity is more refreshing. Sometimes one may disagree with a particular comment or mark, but after all, it is subjective. For more in-depth analysis we have in-house critique evenings. “As a comparison, a music exam candidate is judged on the immediate performance as are other music competitions.” William Norman “I have been a keen photographer for decades, but only joined a club (Park Street Camera Club) about a year ago, and have not yet entered one of their competitions. I have been highly impressed by the way that all the judges I have seen at the club have made constructive comments about most or all the photos presented to them during the evening. “I don’t yet have much feel for how important winning the competitions is for club members, but I think the competition results have been far more appropriate than the random selection suggested, presumably tongue-in-cheek, by Colin. “I agree wholeheartedly with Colin that judges would be better able to do their job if they devoted a weekend in advance to studying the photos, and I admire him for sticking to his principles and refusing to judge ‘cold’. But, having been surprised by the number of competitions Park Street Camera Club holds or enters, I wonder whether there are enough competent judges available, who would be willing to devote a weekend to each competition, to sustain such intensive judging for all club competitions.” Chris Newman
Photography News | Issue 7
Issue 7 | Photography News
LUIS JAVIER SANDOVAL / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013
JASPER DOEST / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013
Wild for 50years Over the past 50 years, Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) has brought us some of the most iconic, poignant and creatively outstanding images of nature from around the world. Communications officer Rosie Pook tells us more about WPOTY then and now
ABOVE LEFT Essence of Elephants by Greg du Toit, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013. Greg used a slow shutter speed and filter to get his ghostly shot at a waterhole in Botswana. TOP RIGHT Dive Buddy by Luis Javier Sandoval, Behaviour: Cold-blooded Animals winner. Luis took his shot at Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a holiday resort, as well as a nesting site for endangered green turtles, who now regard people as part of the environment. ABOVE RIGHT Snow Moment by Jasper Doest, Creative Visions winner. Fascinated by the effect of a cold wind at these Japanese hot springs, Jasper used a polariser and fill-flash to photograph this macaque.
initial appreciation and want to share their story through photography.
because there is enormous biodiversity right on your doorstep, wherever you live in the world.
Interview by Megan Croft
Have you finalised the judging panel for 2014? Yes, we have five judges now all with a range of expertise and experiences. Our chair again this year is Jim Brandenburg who is a legend in wildlife photography. He was a National Geographic photographer for 35 years and is incredibly successful and awarded but also has an amazing vision that really helps drive the competition. Jim wants to see those creative, fresh perspectives which helps push our entrants to achieve the best. With Jim at the helm again, we’re confident that it’s going to be a really good year. We have an initial online judging session in which each of the 43,000 images is seen by at least two of our judges. Our final round of judging sees all our judges brought together in the Natural History Museum and about 10,000 or so images are projected onto a screen for discussion until they have been whittled down to the category winners and then grand title winner. What makes a winning image? Our judges come from all over the world and we draw from a big range of expertise: photo editors, Can you give us an insight into the judging process?
Howmany entries did you receive last year? We received about 43,000 entries from96 countries. It’s grown into a global phenomenon. We are the largest wildlife photography competition in the world and are considered to be the most coveted. Where do you receive the most entries from? We see a lot of entries from the UK as it is a UK owned and run competition, as well as from Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia. Predictably, most of our winners come from these areas too, but interestingly we’ve never had a grand title winner from Australia yet. We are seeing more entries from Korea, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Peru for example which is fantastic because that is where the fresh content and diversity of wildlife is coming from. Lots of wildlife photographers start out as scientists, guides or conservationists. They engage with the world around them and want to start documenting and showing the amazing wildlife they work with in a different light. Last year’s winner Greg du Toit started out as a wildlife guide himself, so lots of people come into wildlife photography from an Is there a typical kind of person who enters WPOTY?
WPOTY has been running for 50 years, tell us about the history of the competition. The competition was founded in 1965 by what is now known as BBC Wildlife magazine, but back then it was simply called Animals . The first competition had about 500 entries in three different categories, but even then it was known as one of the most prestigious wildlife photography competitions in the world. The Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide combined forces in 1984 to take over the running of the competition and it’s really grown from there. In the early years of WPOTY wildlife photography was mostly about documentation because, without the Internet, it was one of the only ways that people were able to see such a variety of wildlife. Then in the ’80s and ’90s, wildlife photography became more of a tool for conservation awareness, which resulted in a lot of images of endangered and rare species. Photography was really used to highlight the plight of wildlife in need. Today, we want to illustrate the diversity on earth, challenge perceptions and inspire people to get more involved in wildlife and wildlife conservation. One of our main aims is to get people to reconnect with the world so we focus a lot on urban wildlife and the immediacy of your surrounding environment
Photography News | Issue 7
SERGEY GORSHKOV / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013
ISAK PRETORIUS / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013
structure in order to better represent the diversity of life on earth. We’ve reorganised categories in terms of taxonomical organisation, so we’ve got a mammal category, a bird category, an invertebrate category and so on. We’ve done that in order to draw a diverse range of entries that we can curate to represent life on earth. We’ve also introducednewcategories to represent new technology, so for 2014 we have a category for time-lapse photography. Time-lapse allows us to see natural behaviour and movement that is otherwise hidden, so it opens up the competition to a different dimension. It’s also important for us to recognise technological developments in photography and film, and to represent this in the competition. Time- lapse has been around for a while, but it’s now becoming more accessible and popular amongst wildlife and landscape photographers. We’re really hoping that it will drive some really interesting and different content for us because it will be the first time we’ve had moving images in the competition. Greg’s image was quite interesting because it focuses on African mammals, a subject that some people have stopped photographing as much because they think it has been overdone. So Greg’s shot proves that trends always come back around. People are now increasingly going to different habitats such as the Russian Far East to photograph wildlife as they believe it hasn’t been seen as much. What we would like to see more of is people documenting their immediate environment. Your back garden could be a huge farm in South Africa or it could consist of just a little garden pond – whatever it is, we want to see it! Where does the exhibition tour? We have two different versions of the tour, one is the light-panel exhibition that shows at the Natural History Museum as well as in Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. We have another set of printed images that tours around the UK and the world. Do you have any predictions for imaging trends that will crop up in 2014’s entries?
wildlife photographers, underwater photographers and a range of industry and technology experts. The judges are looking more into how the image was taken, why the image was taken and what the story is behind the image rather than being wowed by anything extreme. An exciting entry is an image that makes you think, that provokes a response or challenges or moves you in some way. They’re looking for a demonstration of technical skill but also vision and creativity. Creativity really underpins the whole competition. If an image is taken in a creative way, for one judge that could completely overturn the technical element. That’s why we can see images now that may not be technically perfect but can stop you in your tracks. For lots of photographers when they win they say that the most important thing for them is getting their message out to so many people. Our competition message reaches about 800 million people and for Greg winning meant being able to get his message out about the importance and vitality of elephants that was so key for him, and it’s had a huge impact on his career. Are there any names to look out for? Photographers from our Eric Hosking portfolio, our young award for photographers aged 18 to 26, have gone onto great things. Bence Máté and Vincent Munier both won the category a few times and have gone on to be incredibly successful, Connor Stefanison won that award this year and I’m sure will go on to do really well, so photographers in that category are really the ones to watch. Greg has entered before and now he’s made that jump to become one of the world’s best wildlife photographers; if you’d asked me a couple of years ago Greg would have been on that list. WPOTY is redefining the categories for 2014; why and how? For the 50th year, we’ve changed the category Why do you think that photographers want to win WPOTY in particular?
An exciting entry is an image that makes you think, that provokes a response or challenges or moves you in someway winner. When the Plosky Tolbachik volcano erupted for the first time in 36 years, Sergey took his Nikon D4 and lenses up in a helicopter. ABOVE LEFT Sticky Situation by Isak Pretorious, Behaviour: Birds. When the seafaring lesser noddies head for land to breed, the red- legged golden orb-web spiders’s silken webs get in the way, holding them fast. ABOVE RIGHT The Water Bear by Paul Souders. Animals in Their Environment winner. Paul scouted for three days before he spotted this young female bear. TOP LEFT The Cauldron by Sergey Gorshkov, Wildscapes
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a really special and unique competition because they themselves take it so seriously. For me, I think it’s just an incredible conservation tool because the way the exhibit is displayed you are just touched by our planet’s beauty. It’s a great education tool too because of the strong focus on endangered animals and how we are impacting our environment. I was over the moon when I found out I had won. It came at a very good time for me in terms of my career because just the week before I had launched my coffee-table book AWE, African Wildlife Exposed . In the last five years I had two photographs highly commended so it wasn’t the case for me that I just got lucky, it was something I’d worked really hard for. I’m just so passionate about wildlife and photography so for me it’s a joy and a privilege to even be able to enter. The one piece of advice I always give is to photograph whatever you’re passionate about and do it passionately. If you photograph what you’re passionate about then you’ll be able to capture photos that are special, unique and interesting and that will stand out. AwordfromGregdu Toit, lastyear’swinner... Is there anything special planned to celebrate WPOTY’s half-centenary year? We will definitely be having lots of celebrations around the 50th competition. We’re looking into a series of additional activities and live events, but that’s all I can say at the moment.
π To find out more, go to www.nhm.ac.uk.
Issue 7 | Photography News
Photography News | Issue 7
BEFORE THE JUDGE Colin EMill
Each issue, a respected judge or exhibition selector shares their thoughts and experience with us. This month, judge and club member Colin EMill ponders the science of judging
MEET THE JUDGE Colin EMill: Colin started out taking photographs as a teenager with a Petri rangefinder before moving on to an Olympus OM-10 when he started work, but he didn’t join a camera club until he moved to Milton Keynes. Home club: New City Photographic Society (Milton Keynes) www.newcityps.co.uk Years in photography? 31 Favourite camera: Linhof Technorama 617S Favourite lens: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS Favourite photo accessory: Manfrotto 055 ProB with 410 Junior Geared Head (although I’ve just bought the new Manfrotto 055 & X Pro three-way head) Favourite subject: photographers: Colin Prior, David Noton & Tom Mackie Awardswon: Aside from the LRPS I attained in 1999, which has now lapsed as I’m no longer an RPS member, I’ve also won a few ribbons in national exhibitions. Landscapes Favourite
Words by Colin E Mill
Judging may not be a definitive ‘science’ and if you were to put the same image before a number of judges in different competitions, in the company of different images each time, you are likely to get a range of scores, but judges do, or rather should, view an image with certain criteria in mind. So if you are going to enter club competitions how can you improve your chances of winning? Before looking at this I think I should state that camera club photography is a hobby, the purpose of which is enjoyment, and this notion should exceed everything else. I wholeheartedly agree with the premise that we make photographs for our own enjoyment, and not to please the judges, but it makes me wince when I hear that phrase cited as an excuse for mediocre photography. Competition entry& judging criteria For me, as a judge, basic image evaluation of a competition entry falls into three simple categories or stages: Impact, Creativity and Technical Competency. Impact is probably the most important criterion and possibly the simplest. Here you should ask: Does this image have impact? Will it stand out from the crowd? Does it have appeal? Is the impact giving the viewer pleasure, or creating interest? Is it effectively communicating a message? It is the strength of these attributes that are the main criteria for judging an image’s merit, and don’t forget that judges tend to only see each image for a brief period of time so if it doesn’t have immediate impact then no matter how creative or technically perfect it is, it’s already fighting a losing battle. With the image’s impact in mind, consider its Creativity. Ask yourself what are the creative elements that make it work or, slightly more importantly, adversely affect its impact? There are numerous artistic rules or guides, and the judge may identify the use of some of these, but hopefully won’t judge it adversely for not using them, unless their absence specifically detracts from the image’s impact. It’s ok to break the rules, provided the result has impact and shows creativity. Finally, Technical Competency. There are a number of technical elements that contribute to an image’s impact: exposure, selective focusing, print quality, sharpness, overuse of digital tools, etc. Here the judge will consider how well these were used to either enhance the image or detract from it. Ultimately therefore images are best judged by their immediate impact rather than a ‘scientific’ overanalysis of creative and technical elements.
Having decided if the image has impact and is pleasing, the judge might hopefully support this by examining the use of creative and technical elements and from this point, may determine the degree of positive or negative reaction to the image. So, if the image has impact and is pleasing, the judge may score it higher or lower by considering how the creative and technical elements were used. Overanalysis is also an important issue, and one that really ticks me off! Because photography is an art rather than a science it is meaningless, and often laughable, for a judge to attempt to read into images presumptions about the author’s purpose, emotions, or even technical choices. Overanalysis often looks as if the judge is trying to demonstrate great skills rather than focus on the author’s work. Optimally, judges apply logical, simple criteria, which relate to an image’s immediate appeal, impact and how well the image ‘works’. Here, the learning for the entrant is to understand what creative and technical attributes enhance or detract from the image. However, such comments should not be contrived, overanalysed or simply rigid adherence to the numerous ‘creative rules’ (better referred to as ‘guides’) commonly used by photographers. Judges are oftentimes criticised for repeating the same phrases when appraising competition images, indeed certain phrases have achieved something of a mantra status: place the point of interest on the third, include diagonals to give the image dynamism, or try to convey a sense of movement, but leave space for the object to move in to. And don’t forget to watch out for those burnt-out highlights or blocked-up shadows. We may feel we know all this, and yet there is likely to be a reason why these oft used phrases reappear time and again. As photographers, the expectation is on us to render a view within a frame on a two-dimensional surface with as much as possible under our creative control. Slight technical or compositional faults
may be forgiven, but the photograph must have enormous impact in its own right. As a judge, what do you want me to look at? The most successful images have a clear point of interest and the background complements or enhances the image, or places it emphatically in context. This is why good wildlife photographs fare so well. One of the main causes of ‘failure’ in competition images is a lack of sharpness of the main subject. I have seen far too many photographs, be they print or DPI, that are simply not sharp. And this is usually due either to camera shake or inaccurate focusing. In portraits for instance the eyes, nose and lips should be sharp, even when presented as ‘soft focus’. Landscapes should usually be sharp front to back. Learn to focus effectively and sharpen the final image from foreground to background, selectively if necessary. At the same time, take care not to over sharpen an image and watch out for the ‘halos’. Presentation of the final image also has a vital role to play in its impact. Print mounting can be a contentious issue, or rather the colour of the print mount. Do you recall the last time a judge complimented the colour of the mount? Very rarely will a coloured mount enhance competition prints so it is best to mount on black or white. If you like, add a narrow border around the image or use mounting board with a contrasting core to define the edges of the photograph. For DPIs it is advisable to add a key line to the image to define its edge. The size of key line is pretty much down to your own personal preference, though for me thinner is better, but it is best to avoid enormous borders on DPIs. So there you have it, a quick guide to what camera club judges look for. Ultimately, entering club competitions is a fantastic way to improve your photography, provided you are happy to accept the bad critique with the good, but the key is to have fun.
As a judge, what do youwantme to look at? Successful images have a clear point of interest
π To find out more, go to www.colinemill.co.uk.
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